Walter Bellsham

Photo:Walter Bellsham

Walter Bellsham

Photo:Bickley and Widmore School in 1908. Walter attended the school until 1940 when it was destroyed by bombing. It was not until two years later that Walter returned to school.

Bickley and Widmore School in 1908. Walter attended the school until 1940 when it was destroyed by bombing. It was not until two years later that Walter returned to school.

Walter Bellsham

'A red glow'

Walter Bellsham talks about the Blitz.

Chislehurst Caves

Walter Bellsham talks about sheltering in Chislehurst Caves.

'Absolutely dark'

Walter Bellsham recalls the increase in crime brought about by the blackout.

War related occupations

Walter Bellsham recalls how the choice of occupation for many boys growing up during the war was related to bomb damage.

Recollections of growing up in wartime Bromley.

The red glow of London

As a young boy living in Bromley with his parents at the outbreak of war, Walter was not evacuated with the other children in the area but remained at home for the duration. Soon air raids became part of Walter’s daily life, ‘For the first of 1940, we were being bombed every day. Every day: day raids, night raids. I used to see – oh god – I used to see London cos looking across there and there you could see the red glow, you know’. The local school was damaged by bombing and for two years Walter, and two other boys left in the area, were without schooling. It was not until 1942, when children from the area returned from evacuation, that schooling was once again provided.

Taking shelter

Although aerial bombardment had commenced in 1940, it was not until some time later that the family received their Anderson shelter.

‘Before we had the Anderson shelter, we used to sleep under the stairs. Oh god, I can remember one bomb came down and I swear the whole of that wall went up and come back down again as I laid there with my mother on the floor cos dad was doing his Home Guard bit and fire watching or whatever, he was out in it, you know’.

Turnips, carrots and celery

Rationing and food shortages were also part of everyday life. Walter recalls his part in providing food for the family by visiting the local allotments, ‘As kids we used to raid the carrots sometimes. Oh, I did that, yeah. Turnips, carrots, celery nicked those, radishes, you know. Take them home - if we didn’t eat them ourselves. That went on all the time.’

Although too young to fight during the Second World War, Walter later served in Malaya.              

Downloads

Interview with Walter Bellsham
Interview with Walter Bellsham (222k)
To read the full transcript of Walter's interview please press the above link.

'A red glow'
'A red glow' (86k)
Transcript of audio clip with Walter Bellsham.

Chislehurst Caves
Chislehurst Caves (73k)
Transcript of audio clip with Walter Bellsham.

'Absolutely dark'
'Absolutely dark' (83k)
Transcript of audio clip with Walter Bellsham.

War related occupations
War related occupations (82k)
Transcript of audio clip with Walter Bellsham.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 02/02/2012.

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